Happy New Year! How was Christmas at your house? Our simple Christmas was one I will treasure. The kids played well, enjoyed new toys. Marcello and I both had our parents here the entire day. We ate too much and sat around an evening campfire. I truly enjoy getting older, learning to lower expectations, keep things stress-free, and appreciate the real gifts in life.
So! Today I’m looking back on the new year today with the Top 10 most read blog posts, starting with number 10 …
10. How we afforded our dream home
I did something most bloggers don’t do. I shared real numbers. Here is exactly how we profited from our homes and how we afforded our dream home just before our fortieth birthdays.
You don’t have to make big bucks to plan and grow wisely. It also doesn’t happen overnight. Nope, this is not one of those posts that promises to double or triple your money, or pay off anything in 30 days. We didn’t have our dream house at 20 or 30, but with frugal living during those years, we do have it at 40.
9. $100 board and batten entryway
This was one of my favorite projects ever! I completed this board and batten wall in two days all by myself — with no power tools and little to no skills. It was under $100 — wood, paint, hooks and all.
It has a big impact with little money. I’m looking forward to decorating it with the seasons! I’ll show you each step of how I did it, mistakes and all. If I can do it, please believe me, you can too! Here are the instructions.
8. Comprehensive list on how to live frugally (and happily)
This is the most comprehensive, complete guide to frugal living I have EVER done. It has all my secrets, tricks and ideas that you won’t find anywhere else. I’m going to surprise you, you’ll see. Read it now, bookmark it or pin it for later, because you need this one!
Marcello and I have had times of serious debt, little income and worry about how we would pay the bills. We’ve worked hard to not be in that place anymore, but we haven’t veered too far from our roots. We’re still thrifty, we still look for a deal, we still hate waste. We’re no longer living frugally for a season, we’re living frugally because we are frugal. Frugal and happy! Get ALL my tips here.
7. How to get a rustic, bleached wood finish
This was my first time stripping furniture and using liming wax! The furniture stripping was … interesting. But I really liked the liming wax. (If you’ve never heard of it, I can’t wait to show you!) It was able to give me a cross between bleached and whitewashed wood.
Let me introduce you to this beast of a wine cooler. Marcello works in the wine industry and scored this cabinet for $200. The previous owner had a parrot that pecked away at the moulding and the sides were beginning to fray. It had that yellow oak stain that was popular a couple decades ago, but I could see through all of that! I wanted a rustic look anyway, so it didn’t need to be perfect. Here’s how I transformed it.
6. Guest house tour: Furnished for $2,900
One of my biggest joys in this move has been decorating the guest house! My in-laws and I did quizzes through Skype to find their style, and fortunately for me it was easy because they like bright, white and simple. Perfect! Me too!
I would say the style of the guest house is reigned-in coastal — beachy, but subtle. My color palette was white, gray and bleached wood. My budget was under $3,000 for everything.
I did not want this special space to be a haven of hand-me-downs. There is nothing wrong with used, nothing wrong with free, but I wanted this space to be thoughtfully curated. That meant saying no thank you to some free offers and resisting the temptation to put my leftovers in it. Here is the tour.
5. Kitchen organization ideas and minimalist checklist
Are you ever curious to look in someone else’s cabinets? Well, come on, I’m going to show you what’s inside all my kitchen cabinets and drawers. I’m also sharing how I minimized and organized all things in the kitchen. It is so refreshing to open drawers and cabinets that aren’t crammed full, where each and every thing has it’s own spot! There’s a checklist to follow at the end too.
4. Affordable Christmas finds
It’s a little late now, but cheap Christmas decor came in at number four!
3. Behavior chart, consequence jar and bored jar
I have so many free printables in this post! I was gearing up for summertime at home with three kids very close in age. I wanted to be proactive about the inevitable bickering, lots of time together and the dreaded “I’m bored.” There are a few things that are changing the way we discipline, and then share my behavior and clip chart, consequence jar and bored jar!
2. Praying for your spouse 1 month printable
The calendar has 31 short prayers that you can expand upon during your time with the Lord. There is one focus per week: his faith, character, relationships, leadership and health. I used this as my Valentine’s Day gift to Marcello last year.
1. Wardrobe capsule: Comfort
I like to look put together but I’m too busy with my kids and projects to take time to think about it. My goal in this capsule is cozy comfy, with things I will wake up and want to put on. Not things I thought looked cute on the model while online shopping in the evening, but would never throw on last minute to take my son to school. Things that are foolproof and every single thing can mix and match. Here are my comfort capsule ideas.